What started out as a need to get rid of extra milk has become a successful undertaking for Shana Leck. The McPherson County resident has made the most of her family’s single dairy cow by making cheese.

"My son bought a Jersey cow five years ago and I needed to get rid of excess milk in the fridge and cheese seemed like the best way to store the excess milk," Leck noted.

Leck makes cheesemaking look easy after her many years of practice, but it first seemed intimidating to her when she researched it online.

“I went straight to the internet and the site I got started on is www.cheesemaking.com. Ricki Carroll runs it and she is terrific about putting up recipes and how difficult they are, and she also adds photos and videos of her making the cheese,” Leck said.

Now, Leck wants to share her first-hand knowledge by offering classes.

Leck’s classes take around two hours to complete, as she teaches a very hands-on session. Students will take home a pound of mozzarella, plus the skills to make it at home again, and will taste farmhouse cheddar, mozzarella and ricotta.

Cost is $25 per person or $45 for two people. The first available class times start Jan. 3.

Leck wants to share her passion for cheesemaking because she finds it rewarding to eat something made with her own two hands.

“I’d like to share the craft as it is a therapeutic process. You’ve taken a raw product to a finish product and I want to share that with other people. I think that it’s a pretty intimidating thing, but because I do it now, it’s much simpler than I first would’ve thought,” Leck said.

Leck also makes sour cream, butter and yogurt, in addition to a few different types of cheese. The first cheese Leck made was mozzarella, due to the simple process.

“Its one of the easier ones and it takes very few ingredients. I only had to purchase one extra ingredient for it and it’s very fast,” she said.

Along with mozzarella Leck often makes farmhouse cheddar and ricotta cheese.

In the past, Leck taught friends and an agricultural class at Inman High School to make cheese.

“I would really encourage people to start the process and the ingredients are fairly easy to come by and the experience or process is not as difficult or intimidating as it seems. It’s pretty straight forward and is one of those things after you try it a couple of times you’ll be hooked,” Leck laughed.

To sign up for a class, call 620-755-5098.

Contact Brooke Haas by email at bhaas@mcphersonsentinel.com or follow her on Twitter @ MacSentinel.